Frequent Questions

If a facility is in the process of obtaining a RCRA permit when the hazardous waste combustion MACT rule is promulgated, does it have to complete the process?

Yes. As mentioned earlier, RCRA permits will continue to be required for all other (not covered by MACT) aspects of the combustion unit and the facility that are governed by RCRA (e.g., corrective action, general facility standards, other combustor-specific concerns, and other hazardous waste management units). In addition, RCRA interim status facilities will continue to be subject to RCRA permitting requirements for air emissions standards and related operating parameters, including trial burn planning and testing, until they have demonstrated compliance with the new standards by conducting a comprehensive performance test and submitting an NOC to the Agency. Facilities in the process of renewing their RCRA permits will also continue to be subject to combustor air emissions standards as part of the RCRA permitting requirements until the same point. 

There is no single approach for moving these two categories of facilities out of the RCRA permitting process (i.e., for stack air emissions requirements). The most appropriate route to follow in each case depends on a host of factors, including, for example: (1) the status of the facility in the RCRA permitting process at the time this rule is published; (2) the priorities and schedule of the regulatory Agency; (3) the level of environmental concern at a given site; and (4) the number of similar facilities in the permitting queue. The regulatory Agency (presumably in coordination with the facility) will balance all of these factors.
 
In mapping out a site-specific approach, we encourage permitting agencies to give weight to two key factors. First, we should minimize to the extent practicable the amount of time a facility would be subject to duplicative requirements between RCRA and CAA programs. Second, testing under one program should not be unnecessarily delayed in order to coordinate with testing under the other. For example, if a facility is planning to conduct a RCRA trial burn within a fairly short amount of time after the rule is promulgated, they generally should not be allowed to delay the trial burn to coordinate with comprehensive performance testing under MACT that may not occur for three more years.
 
Even though we could not prescribe a single national approach for the transition from RCRA permitting for air emissions, we did provide some other recommendations to help permitting authorities and facility owners or operators determine a sound approach. In the preamble to the final rule, we provide some examples, intended as guidance, for transitioning facilities that are in the process of obtaining or renewing a RCRA permit. We hope that these examples will also enhance consistency among the various regulatory agencies.

For more information, see http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/hazard/tsd/td/combustion.htm.
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